Havenstreet Halloween Event 2014

johnE_halloween_2014 Right back at the beginning of the year, I knew Havenstreet would be a fantastic location for us to investigate. With a history spanning back many years, it’s certain to have a tale or two to tell. Although this is our first meeting with the board of Directors, I have a feeling it won’t be our last. 2 Months on now, and we’ve completed 3 investigations – with a whole plethora of stories and spooky evidence to show for it. Halloween is only a month or two away, and here we are sat at another meeting – with the prospect of working with the Railway on a spooky event. It was decided that we would put on a mini presentation, highlighting some of the key evidence from our investigations with a short video introduction. But what else could we do? It’s not as though we could ‘act’ or be comfortable with portraying something that we would struggle with.. It was then that an idea started to form in my head, a ‘Paranormal Tour’ – mixing in the local history with our findings, and a few demonstrations of ‘Ghost Hunting’ thrown in for good measure. This was going to take some planning!

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With the team and our resident spooky actor (John Poerscout-Edgerton) onboard, it was time for me to focus. With the help of our friends at the Railway, I managed to put together a rough script that would involve us taking over the railway’s new multimillion pound museum ‘Train Story’.  We would start the tour with a presentation in the AV room, guide people to the gas works building, around the yard – ending up inside the museum. The route would take in 5 ghostly hotspots, featuring active demonstrations and live experiments. The idea was put to the Directors at Havenstreet, thankfully receiving a thumbs up. Time to plan things in more detail… If you’ve had any experiences of organizing a large event, I’m sure you can relate to how I felt at the time.. would it work? Will it interest people? Could I get through the coming days without getting into an argument with the wife over it!? (no.. to the last one!) john_halloween_2014 Soo.. we bring people through to the museum, but what to do with them afterwards?  We have a whole section of the museum that doesn’t seem to hold any paranormal activity – how about we turn this into a light and sound walkthrough letting the power of the mind take over!?  Thankfully the sound track came together quite nicely – I managed to combine the usual Halloween effects with train effects to create a good spooky atmosphere. I planned for Janis and John from the team, to be running demonstrations of various ghost hunting equipment while relaying their encounters with the spirits. Meanwhile our spooky Station Master actor would be inviting people onto the ‘Royal Carriage’ for a rundown of ‘Royal’ history. A quick rehearsal at the railway a week before the event resulted in an interesting finding, our resident ghosties (who we’ve come to know well over our time at the railway) – wanting to be involved. This could turn out quite interesting on the night! With my son coming onboard for the night, wiring up the museum with speakers and lighting, we knew we could create the perfect Halloween ambiance! The night of the event.. the whole team a bag of nerves – scripts memorized as best as we could, jackets cleaned and everybody chomping at the bit! The first train pulls up.. its packed! With over 200+ onboard and another 200 queued up and ready to take the next trip – it was quite a daunting sight to behold! The presentation began in front of around 30 people, thankfully scripts flowed – and we pulled off the first show of the night, time for the tour! With the Station-Master leading – stopping at various places to interject with snippets of history from the surrounding railways buildings, what started out as 30 guests quickly became 60. By the time we had reached the museum we were up to 80! – the team worked hard to give a good performance and show our professionalism with the subject.  Two spooky demonstrations later, our guests made their way through the second part of the museum, full of spooky sound and lights.
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But it wasn’t till the final tour that things started to take a fairly odd turn of events. With Janis leading a demonstration of the K2 and conducting people to sit in a ‘haunted carriage’, she soon became aware of an ‘added’ visitor that had made himself comfortable sitting with our guests. Apparently our resident ghost had decided to make a night of it and enjoy himself, and that’s just for starters! Further down the platform John was conducting a demonstration of the Ovilus, after a brief introduction – turning it on for all to hear, just to give people the true ghost hunting experience. A good selection of people volunteered to enter our spooky wagon, including a young girl.. surprisingly 2 words spoke out on the Ovilus – and to be honest, we didn’t really expect any! Walking away from the wagon, the girl’s mother caught up with me.. Mum said that the young girl had felt someone touch her arm just as the Ovilus had said “Hold”. The second word it had said was “Grace”.. and I’m sure you can guess what the little girl was called! Some spooky stuff indeed! – I quickly reassured the mother and daughter that she would come to no harm, and that whoever it was just wanted her to know that they were close and keeping a careful, protecting eye on her. Thankfully the girl seemed happy with my explanation.

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The rest of the evening came and went without further incident, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as did the public we spoke to afterwards. It was a good evening – everything clicked into place, the team had worked hard to pull together – and we managed to successfully hold our first major Halloween Event at the Railway. But what of next year!? Well.. we shall just have to see! 😉

Many thanks to everyone that supported us during the night – including our friends and family members who had given up their time to help marshal our guests for the evening, keeping everyone safe – making this event such a happy success.

Sidenote: It was great to see my Dad able to come and offer up his ‘marshalling’ services, a week after finishing chemotherapy, we all love you Dad!

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